Inventory management is a critical part of any successful aviation program. Rapid and accurate access to aircraft parts is the difference between operational readiness and disaster. In this article, we’ll explore how inventory management practices impact mission success and have played a crucial role in aviation programs since the early twentieth century. We’ll cover:

  1. Early inventory management practices and regulations
  2. Modern aircraft part inventory management
  3. Greenwood Aerospace’s services for inventory management and more

At Greenwood Aerospace, we provide expert inventory management and aviation logistics to ensure our customers are informed on all manner of best practices for aerospace parts. Our experienced team has in-depth industry knowledge of aviation inventory management software and regulations to ensure your programs are safe, efficient, and compliant. 

Now, let’s begin by exploring the history of inventory management and the critical aviation authorities influencing current industry standards. 

A U.S. Air Force Beechcraft MC-12W on the tarmac at Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, Mississippi
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A Brief History of Aircraft Parts Inventory Management

Aircraft inventory management practices were established alongside early aerospace defense initiatives. However, the introduction of these practices took many iterations and continues to be improved through the development of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and advancements in equipment. 

In this section, we’ll investigate the history of aircraft part inventory management and look at the first established practices that inform current standards by focusing on:

  • The World Wars
  • The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) 
  • The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)

At the turn of the twentieth century, aviation was a new force for defense efforts and success on the battlefield. What came from the early inception of aircraft was more than aerial strategy and modern aviation; new systems for quick challenge-response and ground-level organization became necessary. Let’s start with early innovation in aviation and how this grew into rapid aircraft parts inventory management.

World War I and II

Inventory management techniques were not very advanced during World War I. Basic principles of stockpiling and tracking spare aircraft parts and equipment were introduced to support preparedness for military operations. However, it would take years for techniques and advanced systems to be employed to enable rapid access to aircraft parts. 

By the Second World War, there was a significant improvement in aircraft parts inventory management. Aerospace logistics and the military supply chain became more organized and efficient. Techniques were introduced to calculate supply and demand and diligent record-keeping was also introduced during World War II. These endeavors optimized the availability of critical aviation components and supplies. 

World War II also saw the more common use of standardized military packaging. MIL-SPEC packaging revolutionized the way aviation bases rapidly accessed essential aircraft parts and managed their inventory. 

After the World Wars, the Cold War saw huge leaps in the development of aerospace inventory management. Advanced technologies like computer systems and early data analysis were employed to track and manage aviation inventories. To this day, online systems utilize technology to generate predictive analytics and mitigate supply chain challenges.

It’s taken more than just advancements in technology to inform how rapidly aircraft parts can be accessed from inventory. Let’s look closer at the key regulators and agencies who have informed aerospace inventory management.

FAA Regulations

In 1958, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) was created in response to an increase in congested national airspace. Originally called the Civil Aeronautics Authority, the FAA’s core mission was, and continues to be, ensuring the safe and efficient use of U.S. airspace. 

The FAA’s regulations have a significant impact on inventory management practices for aviation programs and aerospace suppliers. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety, reliability, and airworthiness of aircraft parts and aviation components. As a result, inventory management practices must comply with a range of FAA requirements.

Standards and requirements that the FAA covers for aircraft parts inventory include:

  • Quality control and certification standards
  • Part number and serial number tracking
  • Documentation and records

Thorough inventory practices ensure components have been sourced through approved manufacturers and distributors. The FAA issues Airworthiness Directives (ADs) to address any safety concerns or mandatory inspections.

FAA regulations mandate strict quality control and certification standards for aviation and aerospace components. All aerospace parts must maintain:

  1. Proper documentation
  2. Full traceability
  3. Certification records

Accurate and traceable part numbers and serial numbers are required by the FAA to ensure inventory management systems can uniquely identify and trace individual parts throughout their lifecycle. Any repair stations that perform maintenance, repair, or overhaul (MRO) must adhere to FAA regulations and meet necessary standards. Part numbers cannot be compromised as part of any maintenance and guidelines must be met. 

For life-limited parts and maintenance, FAA regulations define specific intervals for certain components. Aviation programs and suppliers are required to monitor these limits as part of their inventory management practices and schedule maintenance or replacement activities accordingly.

Proper documentation and records retention for all aviation inventory transactions is also mandated by the FAA. This includes procurement, storage, distribution, and disposal of parts. Accurate and organized record-keeping is essential to demonstrate compliance during audits. Certain inventory-related events, such as component failures or non-compliance issues, may require reporting to the FAA. Inventory management systems must facilitate timely and accurate reporting as required by regulations.

The Defense Logistics Agency

Shortly after the development of the FAA came the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Established in 1961, the DLA was created to build and sustain the logistics systems that assist military operations in completing critical work. The DLA’s core competencies include:

  • Supply chain management
  • Rapid response to global military needs
  • International collaboration

When it comes to aircraft parts inventory, DLA Aviation offers a complex and extensive supply chain that encompasses aerospace parts and components for distribution. 

While the DLA is less of an authority on inventory management best practices, the agency sets an incredibly high standard for inventory optimization, demand forecasting, and rapid aircraft parts distribution. As a trusted aerospace supplier of the DLA, Greenwood Aerospace’s extensive stock assists the critical response that keeps military aviation programs mission-ready.

In times of conflict or emergencies, DLA's inventory management capabilities allow for a rapid response to supply chain disruptions. The DLA utilizes inventory management practices to optimize stock levels and ensure that critical items are available when needed while minimizing excess inventory. This standard is crucial for maintaining operational readiness and reducing costs associated with storage and carrying excess stock.

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Modern Aircraft Parts Inventory Management

With the increase in global military spending and aerospace advancement, inventory management practices are more crucial than ever. Tracking essential aircraft parts not only assists aviation programs in remaining compliant with regulations but also ensures critical measures have been taken to source and use high-quality parts. 

We’ll address the following aspects of inventory management for aviation programs:

  • Aerospace defense and advanced technology
  • Military standardized packaging
  • Aircraft parts

Starting with aerospace defense and advanced technology, we’ll explore the importance of inventory management practices for government contractors and aviation programs at all levels. 

Aerospace Defense and Advanced Technology

Aerospace technology is continuously advancing. To ensure compliance with the FAA, inventory management practices for aerospace defense equipment are constantly being updated to accommodate developments in technology. This makes maintaining streamlined systems for inventory management crucial to effective aerospace defense operations.

For government contractors, developing new equipment and systems for aerospace defense efforts requires transparency around the history and quality of all components. This is vital when working on global security-focused projects. As the U.S.’s allyships with foreign nations depend on sharing our world-class technology, it is imperative that rapid aircraft part accessibility meets all regulations and standards.

Storage and distribution of essential equipment must be compliant not just for ease of accessibility, but for the safety of personnel who are generating new aerospace defense technologies. Components used in the development of aviation technologies can include hazardous materials and need to be packed and stored in ways that reduce the risk of exposure or damage.

In times of crisis, aerospace defense operations must be top-notch which is why it is of paramount importance that inventory management enables rapid accessibility to essential parts and components.

MIL-SPEC Packaging

MIL-SPEC packaging is a set of standardized codes and specifications used by the Department of Defense (DOD) and other military organizations. The codes define the requirements, guidelines, and testing procedures for various equipment, materials, and processes used in military applications. For aerospace parts, MIL-SPEC packaging is essential in protecting components during long-distance transport and storage. 

During the First World War, an intense reliance on custom packaging for military efforts grew around the world. By the Second World War, the U.S. continued to evolve its standardizations for custom packaging military efforts, and specialized packaging was introduced to streamline storage and distribution efforts further. Presently, MIL-SPEC packaging has developed into a more complex set of standardizations focused on streamlining packaging processes for military equipment.

For inventory management purposes, MIL-SPEC packaging is critical in identifying and tracking aerospace components and storing them appropriately. Military standardized packaging ensures weatherproof travel for aircraft parts and equipment, focusing on ensuring the longevity of items in transit. MIL-SPEC packaging also ensures that aerospace defense components that may contain hazardous materials are packed and stored to a specific safety standard.

On bases and in storage, keeping items in the appropriate MIL-SPEC packing ensures the safety of supplies and equipment until they need to be accessed. It also limits the risk of accidents or misplacing items when kept in their compliant packaging and stored systematically. 

Aircraft Parts

For government aviation operations, utilizing best practices for inventory management is more than a matter of convenience. It is a requirement that ensures effective internal operations and mission preparedness. Incorporating best practices for aircraft parts inventory management offers many benefits, including:

  • Cost-reduction: Reducing mistakes and over-ordering existing parts
  • Part quality assurance:  Access high-caliber parts using a trusted aircraft parts supplier
  • Quick visibility: Knowing what parts you have and need at a glance

Having access to reliable aircraft parts that meet necessary compliance measures means you can fulfill your contract quickly and affordably. Let last-minute part requests and excess stock become a thing of the past as you utilize inventory management software that keeps your program orderly and efficient. At Greenwood Aerospace, we can help you maintain your aircraft part stock and assist in every aspect of your onsite logistics.

Greenwood Aerospace is an industry leader in all manner of aerospace procurement. We source the parts you need fast, so you can complete your mission with ease. Our expert team assists aerospace contractors and aviation programs in rapidly accessing aircraft parts and maintaining compliant inventory management systems. Let’s look closer at how our services can increase your program’s productivity and efficiency.

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Work With Greenwood Aerospace: A Trusted Rapid Aircraft Parts Supplier

At Greenwood Aerospace, we pride ourselves on delivering effective services to our customers that cover a wide range of aerospace needs. From rapid parts procurement to in-depth logistics support, our team of experts is driven to share our industry knowledge to help your aviation program run smoothly. 

Let’s jump into how Greenwood Aerospace’s parts procurement services offer the best quality parts at competitive prices. 

Rapid Aircraft Parts Procurement

Procuring aircraft parts and accessories successfully requires a strong network within the aerospace industry. Greenwood Aerospace has spent the last forty years developing a reliable network of suppliers and using our industry knowledge to leverage our customers’ buying power. 

Get to know our range of procurement services:

  1. Aircraft Sustainment
  2. Fixed-Wing Acquisition Support
  3. Greenwood's Part Procurement Intelligence (GPIQ)
  4. Military Aircraft Parts

From our 42,000 sq ft warehouse, we can quickly locate and ship necessary aircraft accessories and parts. Our wide range of aftermarket and proprietary stock assists military operations and government aviation missions through our swift procurement services. 

Working as an extension of our clients, we provide the most reliable aircraft parts and accessories on the market. Our position within the aerospace industry allows us to offer large onsite aircraft parts and accessories for fast dispatch. Additionally, we offer rapid procurement of any off-site equipment through our expansive network.

Aerospace Logistics

No matter if your program is just getting off the ground or has been airborne for years, we provide the logistics framework you need to maintain even the most complex of operations. Our team offers full-service aviation logistics to streamline project management, assess market trends, and provide aerospace supply chain solutions. 

Our core competencies in aerospace logistics include:

At Greenwood Aerospace, we simplify the complicated processes of program management and procuring ground support equipment. Our range of logistics services provides our customers with cost-effective solutions to keep your operations functioning at maximum efficiency.

Storage and Distribution

Supply chain delays, parts shortages, and unpredictable shipping all complicate the already complex procurement process. We remove your worries by closely assessing all factors of the parts procurement, storage, and distribution operation to ensure your contract is filled precisely and on time.

Our storage and distribution services cover:

  1. Aerospace parts storage and distribution
  2. Aircraft parts supply
  3. MIL-SPEC packaging

Looking for services that ensure proper packaging, containment, labeling, and handling before every military shipment? Look no further than Greenwood’s storage and distribution services. We lead the way in aircraft parts procurement and storage, obtaining and distributing required parts quickly and effectively. 

Work with Greenwood Aerospace for Rapid Aircraft Parts and Inventory Management Guidance

Work with a trusted industry leader in aerospace procurement and inventory management to get the support and knowledge you need. Contact us today or reach out to us at for general inquiries. For large sales inquiries, please reach email us at

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